I own with my brother our childhood home-mortgage paid in full in 1978, which I have resided in to the present time, and need to continue and live in as a low-income senior over 65. How can my brother be paid his half equity of the market value of this home, and I be the sole owner? My home was polluted by MTBE & BTEX to ground , ground water and drinking water, and I can't find a lawyer to represent my brother and I.

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    The childhood home is different from the polluted home, correct? Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 1:24
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    I do not understand the role of the pollution in this otherwise straightforward financial question. From the comments of others, it seems I am not alone.
    – abelenky
    Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 14:39

1 Answer 1


There are a number of ways you could do this. The first step is to work out what a fair price is. Either make an estimate that you both accept, possibly getting a real estate agent to give you a free evaluation, or get a professional evaluation from some you both accept.

Once you have a valuation, the simplest of course is to pay your brother that value (in return for his transferring his ownership to you). Hopefully you have that much money in savings. If you don't have that money (but do have income) you may need to take a mortgage, which would put your home at risk. If the pollution you speak of hasn't been fixed a mortgage may be out of the question.

An alternative, if you have income, and your brother doesn't need the money right now, is to make the money you owe him for the house a loan from him to you. He transfers his ownership of the house to you, you pay him its value, but he simultaneously loans you that exact same amount. No actual money needs to change hands. You would make him a regular payment, essentially the interest on that loan, and also make an agreement to pay off the principal of the loan (i.e. the value of the house) when the house is sold, or when you pass away. While you could do this informally if everyone agrees, it would be much better to make a legal agreement, so that everybody is exactly sure what they are expecting.

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    I assume that "pay your brother that value" includes a quit claim. When the quit claim is presented to get the deed changed from "Brother A and Brother B" to just "Brother A", it will be considered a sale of the property. I suspect that the discovery of pollution invokes a statutory prohibition of any sale before the pollution is remediated. I suspect that neither brother can do anything at all prior to remediation. Without knowing the cost of remediation, it is impossible to know the value to split.
    – chili555
    Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 14:19

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